Libertarian View of Immigration
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15075) 12 years ago
Immigration Law Should Reflect Our Dynamic Labor Market

By Daniel T. Griswold

Among its many virtues, America is a nation where laws are generally reasonable, respected and impartially enforced. A glaring exception is immigration.

Today an estimated 12 million people live in the U.S. without authorization, 1.6 million in Texas alone, and that number grows every year. Many Americans understandably want the rule of law restored to a system where law-breaking has become the norm.

The fundamental choice before us is whether we redouble our efforts to enforce existing immigration law, whatever the cost, or whether we change the law to match the reality of a dynamic society and labor market.

Low-skilled immigrants cross the Mexican border illegally or overstay their visas for a simple reason: There are jobs waiting here for them to fill, especially in Texas and other, faster growing states. Each year our economy creates hundreds of thousands of net new jobs - in such sectors as retail, cleaning, food preparation, construction and tourism - that require only short-term, on-the-job training.

At the same time, the supply of Americans who have traditionally filled many of those jobs - those without a high school diploma - continues to shrink. Their numbers have declined by 4.6 million in the past decade, as the typical American worker becomes older and better educated.

Yet our system offers no legal channel for anywhere near a sufficient number of peaceful, hardworking immigrants to legally enter the United States even temporarily to fill this growing gap. The predictable result is illegal immigration.

In response, we can spend billions more to beef up border patrols. We can erect hundreds of miles of ugly fence slicing through private property along the Rio Grande. We can raid more discount stores and chicken-processing plants from coast to coast. We can require all Americans to carry a national ID card and seek approval from a government computer before starting a new job.

Or we can change our immigration law to more closely conform to how millions of normal people actually live.

Crossing an international border to support your family and pursue dreams of a better life is not an inherently criminal act like rape or robbery. If it were, then most of us descend from criminals. As the people of Texas know well, the large majority of illegal immigrants are not bad people. They are people who value family, faith and hard work trying to live within a bad system.

When large numbers of otherwise decent people routinely violate a law, the law itself is probably the problem. To argue that illegal immigration is bad merely because it is illegal avoids the threshold question of whether we should prohibit this kind of immigration in the first place.

We've faced this choice on immigration before. In the early 1950s, federal agents were making a million arrests a year along the Mexican border. In response, Congress ramped up enforcement, but it also dramatically increased the number of visas available through the Bracero guest worker program. As a result, apprehensions at the border dropped 95 percent. By changing the law, we transformed an illegal inflow of workers into a legal flow.

For those workers already in the United States illegally, we can avoid "amnesty" and still offer a pathway out of the underground economy. Newly legalized workers can be assessed fines and back taxes and serve probation befitting the misdemeanor they've committed. They can be required to take their place at the back of the line should they eventually apply for permanent residency.

The fatal flaw of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act was not that it offered legal status to workers already here but that it made no provision for future workers to enter legally.

Immigration is not the only area of American life where a misguided law has collided with reality. In the 1920s and '30s, Prohibition turned millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans into lawbreakers and spawned an underworld of moon-shining, boot-legging and related criminal activity. (Sound familiar?) We eventually made the right choice to tax and regulate alcohol rather than prohibit it.

In the 19th century, America's frontier was settled largely by illegal squatters. In his influential book on property rights, The Mystery of Capital, economist Hernando de Soto describes how these so-called extralegals began to farm, mine and otherwise improve land to which they did not have strict legal title. After failed attempts by the authorities to destroy their cabins and evict them, federal and state officials finally recognized reality, changed the laws, declared amnesty and issued legal documents conferring title to the land the settlers had improved.

As Mr. de Soto wisely concluded: "The law must be compatible with how people actually arrange their lives." That must be a guiding principle when Congress returns to the important task of fixing our immigration laws.

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Daniel Griswold the is director of the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies. For a copy of the original article, please visit Cato's Web site here.
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Posted by Joe Whalen (+618) 12 years ago
I like the argument, Richard. It's one that most liberals would put forward as well. It sort of makes me wonder, "Who doesn't get this and why won't they?" Ultimately, it doesn't matter much what you call it as long as you call it "regulating to reality".
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6113) 12 years ago
So Say We All.

I wholeheartedly agree with the essay. Thank you for sharing it with us, Richard.
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Posted by Matt - Schmitz (+172) 12 years ago
I'll co-sign that.
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Posted by howdy (+4949) 12 years ago
Yup, that is a great idea and I endorse it as well...which is a far cry from the new Arizona law...
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6170) 12 years ago
Great essay, Richard. Thanks for posting it.
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1664) 12 years ago
Absolutely agree. Thank you.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9297) 12 years ago
No chance in hell the Xenopublicans will let anything short of immediate deportation pass the Senate. The article above is a great idea that reflects a pragmatic engagement with the realities of the situation, and it will go nowhere.
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Posted by Stone (+1590) 12 years ago
I think we should put up a giant wall. It worked well in Berlin.

I am all for it as long as we are not paying for illegals to have abortions.
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1664) 12 years ago
Or eatin' steaks and drivin' Cadillacs.
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+296) 12 years ago
Good Lord, folks do twist a viewpoint so when they don't understand it.

Conservatives have NO problem with immigrants from other countries becoming legal workers (such as the H-1B Visa) or becoming legal citizens.

What most people do NOT like is illegal immigrants coming to the US, usually being mistreated by Coyotes (illegal Alien smugglers) or carrying drugs as they cross the border, and then using the US taxpayers to support them while they look for work or get work. Welfare, Health Care, etc. The illegal immigrants in California have cost so much they caused Emergency Rooms to close in Southern California.

If these folks want to come here, live and work...then become citizens and pay taxes. We have millions of hard working Hispanic folk that have become citizens of the US, and I don't have a bit of a problem with them...that's how this country was built. I do not like and don't feel I should have to pay for someone illegally coming in, using our resources and then leaving, or staying and just avoiding paying their fair share into the government coffers. If the law does not accomodate the process well enough, then it should be changed, but we can't just open the borders and say 'C'mon in! take anything you like and then go home!'

How do you feel about that...should they just come in and abuse the system? Is that what you want?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15075) 12 years ago
Well, by way of analogy, I know that it is easier to get a group of cows on the other side of the fence if you first open the gate.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17660) 12 years ago
Did you even bother to read the article Richard posted, Tracy, before you posted your Dobbsian diatribe?

The problem is, as discussed in the article, is that there isn't enough legal ways for immigrants to enter the country.

If we address that, and de-criminalize drugs, we can reduce the size of government (immigration, DEA, corrections, etc.) greatly.

As a mc.com liberal, I am all in favor of that. Lets reduce the size of the federal government.

Why are you conservatives against reducing the size of the federal goverment
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17660) 12 years ago
Plus, I'll ask again what Brian asked in another thread....

Who are you and why are you posting on Richard Bonine Jr.'s account?
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Posted by Bridgier (+9297) 12 years ago
Well, the part of the government whose job it is to hassle brown people isn't big enough, from some people's perspective...
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+296) 12 years ago
Why do you assume that I am in favor of keeping large central government. I am not...I favor strong government close to the people..cities, counties, state.

Federal goverment should be weak, responsible for standing army and navy, have limited powers over interstate commerce ... none at all intrastate.

As to my post being a 'diabtribe' ... sad that you label my comments as such...it's my opinion, and I felt compelled to share that. Perhaps because it comes from a conservative you feel it should be devalued (and I am NOT necessarily a Republican, although I tend to vote that way more often than not).
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17660) 12 years ago
I devalue your opinion not because you are a conservative, but because you completely ignored the original post that started this thread, from another conservative.

The fact that you conservatives are so full of yourselves that you refuse to listen to other conservatives is what is sad.
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Posted by Bob L. (+5100) 12 years ago
Conservatives live to play the injured party.
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+296) 12 years ago
Sad that you gentlemen feel that way. I did read the original post, but nonetheless I wanted to have my say. Is that not permitted here?

You made your choice, and both of you are assigning values and labels ('injured party' ... where the heck does that come from?)

Every time I come back to this website I hope to have a discussion where my view can at least be heard. Perhaps each time my optimism is misguided.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15075) 12 years ago
I did read the original post, but nonetheless I wanted to have my say. Is that not permitted here?


Umm... I think you DID have your say. Seems like maybe you have other expectations.


Immigration is a complex issue that no two minute sound bite from Rush Limblab or Shawn insHannity is going to fix.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (5/12/2010)]
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17660) 12 years ago
Well stated, "Richard Bonine, Jr." (if that is your real name...)
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Posted by Frank Hardy (+1650) 12 years ago
A gay couple went into the CCDHS locker room together after gym class. Oddly enough, one is conservative and one is liberal. After starting to take the mandatory shower, another student, named Gymmie leaped into their midst with a cellphone camera. Both showerees attempted to cover the private parts of the liberal.

That's the prime difference between a liberal and conservative.


FH

Oh---just so it also firmly belongs on this thread, make it a recently emigrated gay couple named Jose and Julio. If you want, you can also say that they are essay writers.

[This message has been edited by Frank Hardy (5/12/2010)]
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Posted by Steve Sullivan (+1388) 12 years ago
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Posted by Matt - Schmitz (+172) 12 years ago
Yo Tracy! Let me help you with that "injured party" comment. I've heard, several thousand times, Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck and O'Rielly say "Can you imagine what would happen if a conservative did something like that?" And then they tell us how the mainstream media ignores indiscretions of liberals in power. It's the "woe is me" syndrome. How come no one ever calls them on it? That, in a nutshell, is the context of the "injured party" comment. Now you now what it is. And you have heard it a million times yourself.
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+296) 12 years ago
Richard,

"...I did read the original post, but nonetheless I wanted to have my say. Is that not permitted here?.."


'...Umm... I think you DID have your say. Seems like maybe you have other expectations..."

My expectation is that I can post my point of view, without being accused of 'being full of myself' or that I don't listen to what others say. The previous poster (Gunnar) seems to want to put me in a box he has defined as 'conservative' and has several negative connotations assigned to it.

Also you mentioned
'Immigration is a complex issue that no two minute sound bite from Rush Limblab or Shawn insHannity is going to fix.'

I rarely watch or listen to either of those gentlemen, but am even less inclined to watch the hateful rhetoric Keith Olbermann spouts. And I agree that talking heads on both sides are not going to solve the problem. Nor will it be solved by the Federal Government, as they have proven themselves incapable despite many attempts over the past twenty years, I suspect because of political hamstringing. It's up to the local governments to solve, or at least get the ball rolling.
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+296) 12 years ago
Thanks for the reply, Matt.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6113) 12 years ago
Lou Dobbs' mistress wrote:
I rarely watch or listen to either of those gentlemen, but am even less inclined to watch the hateful rhetoric Keith Olbermann spouts.

Perhaps if you did, you might realize why Mr. Olbermann (and Bill Maher) do speak more vitriolically than you might like, Tracy. Olbermann is the contrarian offspring to the Limbaughs/Hannitys/O'Reillys/Becks of the world, not their progenitor.

Like Bruce said in the Death Penalty thread, "'Righties' aren't used to 'Lefties' slinging mudballs back at them."

And remember, you're the one referring to people as "illegal," Tracy. Certain may not be here legally, but that doesn't make them "illegal" as people. Check your own words before you label someone else as hateful.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6113) 12 years ago
Tracy, your views can ALWAYS be voiced. But you should realize that they will not always be accepted as authoritative and final. You should expect to be questioned.

If you can't, then I suspect that you already know the definition of "injured party."
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6113) 12 years ago
Tom Tomorrow's take:

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Posted by Tracy Walters (+296) 12 years ago
Brian,

"And remember, you're the one referring to people as "illegal," Tracy. Certain may not be here legally, but that doesn't make them "illegal" as people. Check your own words before you label someone else as hateful"

So...how do you refer to someone is illegally in this country? They are illegal aliens, meaning they came into the country using unlawful means, and are here without the sanction of the US government or it's people...that seems illegal to me. I don't refer to them as illegal human beings, I refer to them as illegal aliens...I trust you see the difference.

"Tracy, your views can ALWAYS be voiced. But you should realize that they will not always be accepted as authoritative and final. You should expect to be questioned"

I appreciate that acknowledgement! And I would expect them to be questioned, or I would not be here. Participation in rational discussion implies that beliefs and opinions will be questioned, discussed, and some level of equilibrium be reached, even if it is an agreement to disagree.

The earlier posts weren't questioning my opinion, but more along the lines of "you didn't even read the original post, therefore your opinion has no value, and you are a Conservative, and that's the way all you people are."

I don't feel Conservatives have the 'injured party' complex, although there seems to be a distinct difference in what different groups of people feel is permissible when referring to another person. The 'PC' way to do things has double or triple standards when referring to some groups.

I constantly see posts (not always on MC.com) saying 'Conservatives are dumber (or stupider) than Liberals' ... I don't think there is an injured party complex reading anything into that...it's a pretty clear statement.
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+296) 12 years ago
Here's an excerpt from another blog I am on (www.jerrypournelle.net)

"The Los Angeles City Council has decided to boycott Arizona because Arizona has new legislation allowing -- yea, mandating -- Arizona law enforcement to enforce Federal immigration laws.

The Arizona law in essence says that illegal immigrants will not be affected unless or until they legitimately come to the attention of the police; which is what I had thought was a pretty broad consensus in the US. It is not a series of raids with random stops and demands for "your papers, please." Federal law already requires "papers" be carried by all legal immigrants to the US. Those who don't are subject to arrest and possible deportation. All states require "papers" of those driving a car, or for that matter catching a flight on an airplane, and from time to time it is proposed that one must show "papers" to board a train although we have not yet got there.

The Arizona immigration law was either good or bad public relations: which is not yet clear. Forcing people to take sides on a touchy issue, and focusing attention on that issue, shows just how people feel. In Arizona the new law has more than 66% approval, with majority approval even in many -- I've heard most -- Latino areas. In other states people are being forced to make up their minds. Is enforcement of immigration laws "racist"? For that matter, are borders and border control "racist"? California by initiative attempted to restrict welfare benefits to citizens and legal immigrants, and that was held unconstitutional (by a California court). It is not clear what the sentiments of California are now. Los Angeles City Council and Mayor Villars have made their positions clear, but the news has been rather silent on poll data here, or perhaps I have missed it."

[This message has been edited by Tracy Walters (5/13/2010)]
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17660) 12 years ago
The earlier posts weren't questioning my opinion, but more along the lines of "you didn't even read the original post, therefore your opinion has no value, and you are a Conservative, and that's the way all you people are."


Sigh. But you DIDN'T read the original post. You just started spouting off your opinions on illegal immigrants, without bothering to comment on the proposed immigration solution that was identified in Richard's post.

There already is another thread, "And so it starts in Arizona", where your post would have made a heckuva lot more sense than in this thread. Which is why we didn't bother commenting on your opinion.

It frustrates me to no end, people who post in a discussion board, who have extremely poor reading comprehension skills. Does that mean conservatives are dumber than liberals? No. But that means you are dumber than most posters here, Tracy.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9297) 12 years ago
I constantly see posts (not always on MC.com) saying 'Conservatives are dumber (or stupider) than Liberals' ... I don't think there is an injured party complex reading anything into that...it's a pretty clear statement.


Well, reality does have a clearly established liberal bias...
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Posted by Cindy Stalcup (+591) 12 years ago
There's an Ag guest worker employment agency in Idaho Falls that has clients in Southwestern Montana. It seems to work for all involved.
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+296) 12 years ago
Well, thanks, Gunnar, I appreciate your candidness. And there is little use in trying to defend myself to you, as you have already made up your mind.

And it was not myself that opened the discussion on immigration, although I fail to see why discussion on the situation is not germane to the developments in Arizona...but then, by definition, you have said I am dumber than most here.

But it does prove exactly the point I've been trying make here and elsewhere. But since I am of such low intelligence, I am quite sure I was unable to communicate it to the smartest people in the world.

[This message has been edited by Tracy Walters (5/13/2010)]

[This message has been edited by Tracy Walters (5/13/2010)]
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17660) 12 years ago
Ha-zeus, Tracy....quit posting in this thread for the love of god....your posts keep getting stupider and stupider.

Don't you have some knuckles you need to shave?
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+296) 12 years ago
Please, Gunnar...explain how they are getting stupider to me. It's not what you want to hear?
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6113) 12 years ago
You're going to drive Gunnar to drink, Tracy. And no one wants that. Except maybe Gunnar.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15075) 12 years ago
Tracy... In this thread you'd have more success if you would simply make your point(s) related to the Libertarian view of immigration and not get caught up in or continue to create arguments over the rules of "discussion engagement". Your comments regarding your treatment simply reinforce a negative stereotype. You appear as though you are whining because you don't get some preconceived response, making it difficult to take you seriously.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9297) 12 years ago
When was Richard replaced with a replicant? I'm not saying he needs to be hunted down or anything, but it's disconcerting.
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Posted by mac01 (+17) 12 years ago
Whats to say if more legal ways of coming to the U.S. were opened if the Immagrants were to use them. If you want to create more ways to come here legally you would have to shut down the boarders completely, then you can track and you would know how many people are actually coming here and coming here legely.
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+296) 12 years ago
Thanks, Richard
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+296) 12 years ago
I'm not trying to start a debate again, I just ran across this and it's pretty funny:

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